What's hot today
Is it a prelude to tonight's State of the Union address? A stark divide was revealed today in a slew of state legislative committee votes.
It was only Democrats in the House Labor Committee who endorsed HB 1152 and HB 1153, bills that would grant certain hospital employees--rather than their managers--the power to decide when to take their breaks or whether to work overtime.
In the House Government Operations Committee, same-day voter registration (HB 1267) and the so-called Voting Rights Act (HB 1413) also moved ahead with support only from Committee Democrats. There was more agreement on HB 1198--only one committee member voted against the proposal to require the state's Attorney General to provide training for local government officials about the state's open government laws and to require the local officials to partake in the new training program. During the public portion of the hearing, the Freedom Foundation's Glen Morgan testified about HB 1163, a bill by Rep. David Taylor which draws together many of the best ideas for getting regulation under control.
It was different in the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources, where HB 1112 won unanimous support. Rep. Shelly Short's measure would require the Department of Fish & Wildlife to cite peer-reviewed science to support the agency's decision. (The Committee already endorsed Rep. Short's bill to apply the same requirement to the Department of Ecology.)
A public hearing is being held this afternoon on SB 5295, which would allow limited construction to go forward during an appeal of a permit under the Shoreline Management Act.
What's up tomorrow
Public hearing all about guns: The House Judiciary Committee will accept public testimony on bills about background checks and firearm storage at their 8 a.m. hearing.
Public hearing on prevailing wage: The Senate Commerce & Labor Committee will hear testimony on a range of bills, some to expand the application of the state's pay-more, get-less prevailing wage law and some to limit it or change how wage rates are set.
Committee votes on union bills: Expansions of prevailing wage, apprenticeship mandates, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as a new "sick & safe employment leave" mandate, are up first thing in the morning at the House Labor Committee. (The Committee will also hear testimony on HB 1659, to shield the media from the bite of state labor laws, and Rep. Matt Manweller's HB 1462, which would protect employers from frivolous labor complaints.)